31 jan 23

Battle intensifies over access to in-vehicle data

Insurers, repairers, and leasing companies are calling on the EC to end delays over access to vehicle data.

The political battle over access to in-vehicle data from connected vehicles has intensified after 10 representative bodies* wrote a joint letter to the European Commission complaining about delays to legislation that would guarantee open access to the data.

The coalition of bodies, which includes the FiA, Cecra (the European vehicle dealers and repairers association), Insurance Europe and Leaseurope, argues that access to this data is vital to create a level playing field between automotive market participants and vehicle manufacturers, which currently control access to in-vehicle data.

They also insist that it is vital for the EC to ensure drivers are in control of their data.

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Data Act proposals

In 2022, European commissioners promised that there would be a sector-specific automotive regulation to complement the EU-wide Data Act, building on a plan outlined at the end of 2020 to create a “new regulatory framework to open up access to car data to mobility services,” by 2021.

The latest update was due to see a proposal to expand the Vehicle Type-Approval legislation sent for review by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board at the beginning of February 2023. This would allow for its adoption in the second quarter of this year. However, the process appears to be further delayed.

A spokesperson for the Independent Service Providers, part of Cecra, said: “The Commission committed to bringing forward access to in-vehicle data legislation in December 2020 by the end of 2021. We’re now in 2023 and the proposal has been delayed yet again. Despite six years of painstaking Commission evidence-gathering and previous strategic policy plans, the vast majority of the sector are left in limbo and investment decisions are delayed.”

Regulation required

According to the 10-strong coalition, the delays benefit only one stakeholder, vehicle manufacturers, due to their position in the data stream.

“Almost every European citizen uses some form of mobility on a daily basis and should therefore enjoy the benefits of data-driven innovation, choice and affordability in the automotive and mobility ecosystem. This can only happen provided the right regulatory framework is in place,” said the coalition.

EC response

A spokesperson for the European Commission told Fleet Europe that the Commission is currently working on the impact assessment for this proposal.

“This initiative on in-vehicle data would aim to complement the proposal for a Data Act, published in February 2022. It will build on its principles and aim to address some sector-specific issues, such as the bi-directional access to vehicles resources and the interplay between access to data and cybersecurity.”

OEMs fight back

Last year, ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers’ association, said it welcomed the objective of the Data Act to put consumers at the centre of the data-sharing process, with customers having to give permission for their data to be shared with third parties.

It also accepted the proposal to enable: “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory access to data across all sectors of the data economy.”

However, ACEA also insisted that: “Users who are companies making commercial use of the products from which the data is generated, and that intend to use this data for commercial purposes, should not be entitled to access this data free of charge.”

It also said third-party data users should not be able to use in-vehicle data obtained from an OEM: “To develop a related service that competes with the product, or with the related service, from which the data originates.”

And it proposed that the Data Act should only apply 36 months after it comes into force, adding further delays for the coalition of bodies that want to use the data.


*The 10 coalition parties that wrote to the European Commission are: ADPA, AIRC, CECRA, CLEPA, EGEA, ETRMA, FIA, FIGIEFA, Insurance Europe, and Leaseurope.

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Jonathan Manning